Arguments rage on over citizenship of people who are born to parents who are here illegally or on visas. The history of the Fourteenth Amendment is important in understanding both sides.

Monica Jackson
Published Nov 13, 2023

Many people have heard the arguments that are raging over citizenship for people who are born to parents who are here illegally or on visas. The history of the Fourteenth Amendment is important in understanding both sides of the argument, as many times there are media outlets that are not covering both sides of the political spectrum. A person who wants to be informed needs to know the facts and have the ability to form opinions from that. This issue is made complex by having multiple opinions involved from the writer of the Citizenship Clause and from the Supreme Court.

Dred Scott

The Supreme Court case that required a legal change was Dred Scott v. Sandford. John Sandford was an Army officer that traveled with his slave Scott to place that slavery was not legal. The heavily southern court ruled in a way that said a person could not be deprived of their property, which meant slaves were property and not people. This also opened up the territories to slavery, even though they had been supposed to not have it. This meant that there had to be a way to fix this miscarriage of justice by writing an amendment.

Citizenship Clause

When Senator Jacob Howard, the writer of the Citizenship Clause, was asked about what was intended with his part of the amendment he was clear. He said it was to give citizenship to all the former slaves. He also stated that it was not meant for any person who was born to parents who had allegiance to another nation. This means people visiting on visas or in the country did not fit his idea of deserving to be citizens. At the end of the day, Senator Howard's opinion does not carry the power of law in this issue.

Court Ruling

The first major case that ruled for citizenship for someone who was not a former slave was the United States v. Wong Kim Ark. The gentleman was born in San Francisco and believed he was a full citizen. He visited his family in China and was not hassled when he tried to reenter the United States. This led to a court case that went through the system all the way to the Supreme Court. It was ruled in 1898 that he was a citizen because of the way Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment was worded.

Liberal Side

The folks who are considered liberal believe that the border needs to be open to work jobs that others do not want to work. They believe that all people should have a chance at the American dream, including the welfare and benefits set up by taxpayers. This also helps them strengthen their base to make sure they get votes for their candidates. Much of the strength of this was started with the run for the Presidency by Robert Kennedy before he was shot. This is a strong part of what the Democrat Party is in the modern world.

Conservative Side

The conservative of the argument is that the amount of crime produced by allowing citizenship outweighs any good that is done. While popular media focuses on the Hispanic groups, there are others who come to have babies. This fuels drug trafficking, human trafficking, identity theft, and other felonies. The communities created by this have a higher percentage of hiding crimes because they mistrust authority figures. These people are from many nations around the world and they want changes that most conservatives are not able to deal with. This is leading to fewer Republican states and less political influence.

There are several ways to come at the disagreement over the Fourteenth Amendment. There is no way to not have an opinion on it with the topic being in the news many times in a day. This affects how tax dollars are spent. The taxes are going to welfare, law enforcement, and many other areas that could be cut down if hard decisions could be made. It would be naive to believe that people in the political arena will not play their normal games, as they do this every single day. This is an issue that every person who is concerned needs to know all sides of the argument about.

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